Prague (pop. 1,250,000), the capital of the Czech Republic, is the country's most important political, economic and cultural centre, as well as the seat of the President, Government and Parliament.
Prague is one of the most beautiful, romantic and best preserved historical cities in Europe. Its visitors and admirers often call it "Golden Prague" or "the city of a hundred spires". Ever since the 10th century when the city was founded, it has been the residence of Czech princes, kings, emperors and presidents.
Prague is an amazing blend of many architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau, as well as Cubism and modern architecture. They all merge into a surprisingly harmonious mixture. Prague's Baroque and Cubist buildings are quite unique.
The greatest attraction amongst these architectural and artistic treasures is the majestic compound of Prague Castle with St.Vitus' Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, St.George's Basilica and Convent, and the Golden Lane. In the vicinity of the castle is the Loreto Church and Treasury containing a priceless collection of church monstrances, jewelled goblets and golden robes. The nearby Strahov Monastery offers a tour of one of the most impressive historic libraries in Europe. Its valuable collection of more than 130,000 old books and manuscripts dating back as far as the 10th century is displayed in lavishly designed rooms.
For many tourists, a walk along the King's Way has become one of the most unforgettable memories. The Way once connected Prague Castle with the Old Town (Stare Mesto), passing through the architectural gems of the Lesser Town (Mala Strana) and across the famous Charles Bridge decorated with 30 statues. The most remarkable sights of the Old Town are the picturesque Old Town Square with the Old Town Hall and its astronomical clock, the Tyn Church, the Powder Tower and the Bethlehem Chapel.
Another unique place is the former Jewish Ghetto, commemorating the life and work of Prague's Jewish Community throughout the centuries. The most famous sights are the Old Jewish Cemetery and the so-called Old-New Synagogue which is the oldest surviving synagogue in Europe.
Another historic landmark is Vysehrad Hill, the first legendary seat of Czech princes on the bank of the Vltava River. Close to the ruins of the former fortifications is the Slavin Cemetery where you can pay homage to the most outstanding Czech writers and composers, including Antonin Dvorak, Bedrich Smetana.
In addition to its historic sights, Prague is a busy cultural and social centre, boasting numerous art galleries, museums, concert halls and theatres, including the National Theatre, the State Opera and the Estates Theatre (Stavovske divadlo).
Last but not least, visitors can enjoy the hearty Czech cuisine and famous beers, or discover the lesser known but nonetheless delicious wines in the intimate atmosphere of Prague's numerous historic or folkloric pubs and wine restaurants.